LAHORE, July 24: The parking area at the northwest corner of the Lahore Fort may be shifted to the Minar-i-Pakistan gateway at the Sports Complex, it is learnt.

Sources said the chief minister, who had established his camp office at Minar-i-Pakistan, had asked the departments to come up with options to replace the parking area.

Before 2003 the parking area of the Lahore Fort used to be in front of Alamgiri Gate after which it was shifted to the northwest corner. Sources said the idea behind shifting the parking area was to provide parking for the whole complex of monuments located side by side for the convenience of the visitors.

The complex of monuments includes Lahore Fort, Badshahi Masjid, Minar-i-Pakistan and Food Street. They said a meeting regarding the provision of a new parking lot was held on June 30 and a committee was formed to consider all aspects. The committee included Director General Archaeology, Lahore, Dr Ismat Tahira, Director Archaeology Maqsood Ahmad, Tepa Director Khalid Alvi, Director Engineering, PHA Lahore Amir Saleem, Director Culture and Heritage Walled City Project Lahore Mirza Sultan Saleem, noted architect Kamil Khan Mumtaz and former National College of Arts principal Sajida Vandal.

Three options were considered for the parking area; the first was to keep the parking at the existing place and give it a proper shape, the second was the Sports Complex parking of Minar-i-Pakistan and the third was Attique Stadium. It was also considered that Attique Stadium area should be used as an underground parking and sports complex area for buses.

The Directorate General of Punjab Archaeology Department and other departments and technical experts concluded that parking area should be shifted to Sport Complex parking which is spread over 14 kanals.

The committee and technical experts have come up with an estimated budget of Rs800 million for the project which also includes an underpass and a shopping arcade. Officials will give a presentation to the chief minister in the coming week.

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